Like many people I have my fair share of lists, goals, and promises that have accumulated over the years. For example, how many of us have started out with fitness goals in January that fizzled before the spring flowers even had a chance to bloom? It’s all right. You don’t have to raise your hand. That was totally rhetorical. I don’t know how many times I have set out to perfect my foreign language skills and at the end of the year still find myself on the “Yo quiero Taco Bell” level of Spanish. I have books and movie scripts that I have started writing. Documentary ideas on which I have started research.

Goals and resolutions are a part of our nature. Unfortunately, resisting the discipline that is required to successfully meet our goals is also part of our nature.

I remember spending one pre-teen summer trying to “beat” Super Mario Bros. 3. This was before the convenience of finding official video game walkthroughs online that provide an outline of all the levels, bosses and special items. We didn’t have it that easy. You played the same levels over and over and over again until you were able to pass them. Sometimes I would call a friend and we would play simultaneously over the telephone, coaching each other through the difficult portions. I would play a few hours, go eat lunch, watch a little tv, go outside, and then return to try again. I’d walk away and play another game, but eventually would go back to it. I was DETERMINED to beat that game before I went back to school. And what reward did I have to look forward to? Good old fashioned bragging rights. No medal. No money. Just the ability to boast in truth that I had made it to the end. I had accomplished my goal.

My pre-pubescent summertime goal was not an easy task to achieve. Hours of staring at a 13″ tv screen, hands gripping the controller while my fingers sometimes feverishly pressed those red “A” and “B” buttons took a toll on my body. I died…well, Mario died over and over again. Every time I failed to successfully defeat a boss I was given another chance to start over.

Isn’t that how we sometimes view the new year? Towards the end of the year we begin to take inventory of the things we didn’t accomplish during the current year and hope to accomplish the next year. We shake our heads at the new running shoes we purchased  – 6 months ago – or cringe at the savings account that was supposed to have X amount of dollars in it by now. We look at January as the do-over.

The last few years for me have been mixed with challenges, failures, triumphs and fulfillment. There have been a number of goals that have remained on my list year after year with little or no progress while other goals saw baby steps lead to giant leaps. And yet there is so much more to do.

So as we approach the much lauded 1.1.11 let it not only be the beginning of a new year of possibilities but a year to finish those things we have already started, a year to walk out those things that God has already talked to us about or confirmed.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6

As God the Father Himself is the ultimate finisher, we being made in His image and likeness and by the power of the Holy Spirit can also finish what we started.

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